Thursday, November 10, 2011

Every Cowboy Needs a Horse (An Ode To Patty, The Stickhorse)

James and Patty
Since James has been a very wee lad, he has been into everything cowboy/farm/horse. He was about 18 months old when he found a pair of cowboy boots in the closet. They were hand-me-downs from my 6 year old nephew. He didn't care that they were way too big. He insisted on wearing them every day, until  his Auntie bought him a pair that actually fit. He has since gone through many pairs of boots, two pairs of chaps, a plethora of Wranglers and Western shirts. Never has he strayed from his interests. In fact, he thinks dinosaurs and Super Heroes are boring and 'dumb'. When he was about two, I found a stick horse at a yard sale for about a buck. It had already been loved, but it was still in nice shape. Little did I know that my $1 stick horse would be used and loved for another 4 good years. 'Patty,' as she was called (from Laura Ingalls) has been through a lot. She has been left in the yard, fought over by visiting friends, and suffered more than her fair share of injuries. It is always tricky when we have friends over, because to James, Patty is not a toy. She is his horse. He don't take too kindly to someone wanting to ride his horse. Usually Patty ended up being put away til the company left. For quite some time, James would tether her to the end of his bed, in her 'pasture', and leave her grass to eat when he went to bed. He would stop at the creek when we took a walk to 'water' her. He would pick her 'hay' (grass) in the yard. He turned the playhouse into his stable. Patty was well loved, and (usually) well taken care of. In an unfortunate turn of events, Patty recently found herself in need of a transplant. You see, her stick was battered, bent and sticking out of the fabric. I performed the surgery and gave her a new implant. It worked, for a while. Over time, the implant started coming out again. Around the same time, Patty's harness broke and her insides started coming outside. Her battery pack was hanging forlornly out of a seam. While technically I probably could have fixed her, it was more effort than I cared to expend on poor Patty. James, however, was not happy about the lack of a horse. He needed a horse, and stat!! I headed to the Devil's Lair, also known as Toys R Us. (I hate that place!!) I found a box o' stick horses, and picked through until I found one that I thought was semi-decent. (Why does everything have to be made of plastic and break in 3 days?!) I was hoping that James could except this replacement for his beloved Patty. I was a little skeptical. It was sure not love at first sight. He looked at her, turned her around, and was kind of indifferent. I talked her up, and he eventually came around. He took her out in the yard for a gallop. She threw him off. He declared her 'faster than Patty.' Now, he and the new stick horse are in the 'getting to know you' stage. He says he has to get used to her. You know, they have to learn to work together, the man and his horse. Since Saturday, James and the new horse have had barrel races, bucking rides, and time in the barn. Yesterday, he declared that she is a he, and his name is Little Red. Phew! He has accepted the new stick horse as his own. Sorry, Patty. I will put your disemboweled carcass to rest in James' memory box, right next to the tiny cowboy boots and mini-Wranglers.

P.S. We are watching Sid the Science Kid's show about recycling, and they showed what looked disturbingly like a bottle of Crown Royal in the glass recycling bin. Why???


Ms. Mc said...

OMG I am laughing so hard... seriously. Thanks for the well-deserved ode to Patty.

Terry and Linda said...

I'm so glad he took o the other horse....sometimes they don't and an era comes to an end. The end is usually very sad for Mom. Not the child.